Tony Parker to sign with Hornets after 4 titles, 17-year run with Spurs

Parker drafted by Spurs in 2001

(AP Photo/Eric Gay)
(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

SAN ANTONIO – After four championships and an iconic 17-year run with the San Antonio Spurs, Tony Parker has reportedly agreed to a deal with the Charlotte Hornets.

Shams Charania, of Yahoo! Sports, reported the news first. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Parker will sign a two-year deal worth $10 million with Charlotte.

Parker, one of the greatest Spurs in franchise history, joined San Antonio at the age of 19 after he was selected by the Spurs with the No. 28 pick in 2001 NBA Draft.

He won those four NBA titles alongside Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and head coach Gregg Popovich.

With Duncan and Ginobili, the Spurs "Big Three" as they were known, became the most decorated trio in NBA history.

They won over 1,000 games together and have the record for most NBA playoff wins.

Individually, Parker was named an all-star six times and named NBA Finals MVP in 2007 when San Antonio swept Cleveland for the franchise's third championship. 

Parker ranks first all-time in assists, second in games and minutes played, and fourth in points scored in Spurs franchise history.

According to Wojnarowski, Parker called Popovich to inform him of his decision to accept the Hornets offer. Popovich later issued a statement on Parker's departure. It read:

“It’s difficult to put into words how important Tony Parker has been to the Spurs franchise over the past two decades. From his first game in 2001 at age 19, TP has impressed and inspired us - day-after-day, game-after-game, season-after-season - with his passion, dedication and desire. We are grateful to Tony for 17 years of truly amazing memories. While the four championships, six All-Star appearances and four All-NBA selections highlight his resume, the biggest joy for me has been to have the pleasure of watching TP grow up before our eyes. All of us in the Spurs organization will miss having Tony in our program and wish him and his family the best as he continues his remarkable career in Charlotte.”  

ESPN’s Marc Spears reported that Parker told The Undefeated it was a “tough decision, tough three days, tough communicating it all to Pop.”

Parker added via Spears that he had a “very emotional conversation” with Popovich and Spurs general manager R.C. Buford, but felt he had to move on.

Spears reported that Parker said he had no problem with Kawhi Leonard and the two never had an argument. 

Wojnarowski later added the Spurs wanted Parker to return, but he will play a more significant role in Charlotte under new Hornets head coach James Borrego, who had been an assistant with the Spurs for the past three seasons.

Parker's final season with San Antonio could be defined as his most difficult, but also somewhat rewarding.

Parker was replaced in the starting lineup mid-season by second-year guard Dejounte Murray.

He averaged a career-low 7.7 points and played less than 20 minutes a game for the first time in his 17 seasons with San Antonio.

However, Parker also battled back from a near career-ending injury he suffered during the 2016-17 playoffs.

He ruptured his quadriceps tendon and many believed his career would be over.

Parker said during Spurs media day in September that his desire to not end his career being carried off the court pushed him past intense rehab.

"In my mind, I just wanted to make sure I come back and make sure I finish my career the right way,” Parker said.

Parker has said his goal was to play 20 seasons in the NBA. That goal is still in play, just no longer in San Antonio.

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